Sinbad and the Minotaur (2011)

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Released 15-Dec-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-x 3 for other Gryphon films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 88:37
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Karl Zwicky
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Jim Noble
Manu Bennett
Holly Brisley
Steven Grives
Jared Robinson
Lily Brown
Derek Boyer
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $14.95 Music Garry McDonald
Lawrence Stone


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

“What hope of escape is there for any man who dares to steal a tribute marked for the gods”

     Sinbad (Manu Bennett) and his accomplice Karim (Pacharo Mzembe) break into the camp of the evil sorcerer Al-Jibar (Steven Grives) and steal an ancient scroll which points to the location of the solid gold head of the Colossus of Rhodes, stolen from Rhodes by King Minos 1,000 years before. In the camp they also accidentally rescue Princess Tara (Holly Brisley) and, joining Sinbad’s crew, they journey to the island of Minos in search of the golden head. Not surprisingly, the islanders are unfriendly but Sinbad and the crew manage to find their way into the labyrinth under the mountain, where they clash with the Minotaur. Escaping, they find that the islanders have turned into bloodthirsty zombies (with horns), and that Al-Jibar and his men, including the seemingly immortal Seif (Jared Robinson), have tracked them to the island. From there it gets messy as each group attempts to kill each of the others, the Minotaur rampages and the golden head is up for grabs. Can Sinbad stay alive long enough to rescue the girl, kill the undead, defeat the Minotaur and steal the gold? All in a day’s work really.

     One problem with Sinbad and the Minotaur is a script that throws together adventure, Greek myth, Arabian legends and zombies into a convoluted plotline that is contrived as well as illogical; not that logicality is necessary in this type of adventure film. Even with all the different competing groups in play, the film still feels padded and people spend a lot of time chasing each other around – it takes, for example, an eon for Al-Jibar’s men to chase and capture the dancer Luna (Lauren Horner) who had helped Sinbad escape, a chase that has little to do with the main characters. For a mindless action / adventure, the film is also quite graphic, bloody and violent, with a woman whipped and flesh eaters tearing into bloody necks, perhaps alienating those of the age who might be the main audience for this “boys own adventure”.

     There are other problems also. For an action / adventure the stunts are ponderous and not particularly inventive and, perhaps worse, the CGI minotaur is probably the least effective monster I have seen in a long time. The director, Karl Zwicky, is an Australian born TV producer and director who perhaps tries to compensate for this by blatant camera tricks that call attention to themselves such as jerky cam shots, flashy quick intercutting and red monster POV shots. On the other hand, the film does look good, courtesy of the Queensland locations, features scantily clad women, magic and heroes with muscles and a sharp wit, including New Zealander Manu Bennet (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and Spartacus: Blood and Sand) who looks good and does enough to suggest that with a decent script he could be an interesting action hero. In contrast, Steven Grives as the main villain is perhaps the most unconvincing evil megalomaniac I have seen since Steven Brand in The Scorpion King.

     Sinbad and the Minotaur is a made for TV film let down by a confused script and a poor CGI creature and villain but it does look good and Manu Bennet is worth watching. I am a fan of sword and sorcery and films set in the ancient world myths, but I did struggle with this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Sinbad and the Minotaur is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.77:1, which I suspect is close the original ratio, although occasionally characters partially disappear out of frame. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good looking print. It is sharp and nicely detailed, with good colours and natural skin tones. Blacks are good and shadow detail excellent. I did not notice any film artefacts such as marks or other nasties and film to video is fine except for one place, at 81:44, where the image noticeably breaks up. I suspect the foreground action, in front of a background of leaping flames, was just too much for the video to cope with.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track encoded at 224 Kbps (the default) or an English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. As a TV movie I guess the 2.0 audio was the original track but I must say that the difference between the 2.0 and 5.1 was very noticeable with the 5.1 having a nice, enveloping feel. Dialogue was clear and the surrounds were constantly in use for ambient sound, action effects and music. The sub woofer was not used excessively but did support the music and volcano eruption.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The score by Garry McDonald and Lawrence Stone was rousing and bombastic, just what an action adventure requires.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     Trailers play on starting the disc. They are: Midnight Chronicles, Bail Enforcers and Lullaby, in total (4:54). There was a problem when I tried to skip the trailers – instead of skipping they went back to the beginning, so I ended up having to fast-forward them instead.

Theatrical Trailer (1:39)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Neither the Region 1 US (NTSC) or Region 2 UK (PAL) seem any different in language or presentation, save for different trailers.

Summary

    Sinbad and the Minotaur is a made for TV film let down by a confused script and a poor CGI creature and villain but it does look good and Manu Bennet is worth watching.

     The video and audio are good, extras minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, December 09, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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